Deep breath, and relax…

Given it’s the season for family holidays and summer vacations, I thought it might be a good time to talk about how to take home a little piece of our time off. After all, our homes are where we escape to every night to relax, rejuvenate, and even be inspired. With how stressed everyone seems to be these days, maybe it’s time we see our homes as more than just a functional landing base, and instead look to create a bit of a mini holiday destination. One that we can completely tailor to suit our needs, no matter how often they change. And one that hopefully, we never quite tire of. If I think about how much my husband and I have spent on our holidays vs our home, it’s quite a shock really. So one of our goals this year is to think about how we make our home a place that we don’t need to escape from as often.

For me, importing your holiday is less about buying bowls, blankets, tshirts or other totems of your time away. Those are good fun, and nice little reminders of a destination, but too often they end up sitting on the shelf of a closet or tossed in the toy bin. Instead, it’s about discovering what helps you to de-stress and re-engage with the world around you. Or importing an aesthetic that really helps you to switch out of the work-home-school-kids-partner mode.

Earlier this year, we took our first trip to Japan and absolutely fell in love. We weren’t just lying on a beach somewhere (which is nice too!) but instead, were out in the city, inspired by our surroundings. If we weren’t running around the streets of Tokyo, we were trying to overcome our jetlag in our amazing hotel, or sitting down to a fantastic meal somewhere. A few things that we learned about ourselves, that we’ll be looking to build into our new space:

1. We love eating at a bar. Tables are lovely too – especially if there’s more than two of you – but there’s something about a sushi or noodle bar that was so much more fun. Sat next to one another felt very intimate, and also like you were included in everything going on. We could watch the chef whip up our fresh sushi, admire the bartender as he made our drinks, and whisper funny things we noticed in one another’s ear without having to stretch across the table or share our conversation with everyone in the restaurant. So at our new place, we will definitely be building a breakfast bar into the kitchen. This is where we’ll have breakfast, whip up cocktails, and catch up at the end of a long day while the other person cooks dinner.

2. We need a dark, quiet, cozy bedroom to get a good night’s sleep. And yes – the bed and mattress does make a huge difference. Over the years we’ve moved around so often that we never actually owned a bed or mattress of our own. We simply made do with what was in the flat we were renting. A firm mattress with good quality sheets and lots of good pillows will be one of our first priorities. Followed closely by some stylish black-out blinds. And some good reading lights on either side of the bed. I want to create a space where we can really shut off, and ready ourselves for the next day.

3. Finding a place to park our phones. We’re both terrible at late-night surfing before bed, and even when we’re in the flat we’re often checking something or responding to a work email. When we’re on holiday, we don’t rely on our phones to wake us up and we’re also usually trying to avoid roaming charges, so the phones are not at arms reach.  To try and bring this home, I’ll be buying an alarm clock and creating a landing dock that lives outside the bedroom.

4. We are inspired by texture, minimalist lines and colour. If I look back through all the photos we took of the different buildings we visited, my favourites include clean sharp lines, highly polished wood, brick, pops of brightness, and texture. Like this:

A massive paper lantern
A massive paper lantern
Characterful details and wrought iron
Characterful details and wrought iron
A bit of bling
A bit of bling
Sharp lines and contrast
Sharp lines and contrast
Texture and colour
Texture and colour
Stone and wood
Stone and wood
Repeating patterns
Repeating patterns
Eye-popping orange
Eye-popping orange
Organic textures with geometry and curved lines
Organic textures with geometry and curved lines
Highly polished surfaces
Highly polished surfaces

I absolutely loved the traditional-meets-cutting-edge aesthetic that we saw everywhere, which echoes a lot of what we have in our home. So we’ll be continuing this as we create our little nest.

5. Living with less. It’s amazing what we force ourselves to leave behind when we limit ourselves to one suitcase. And the entire time we were away, we never once thought ‘Oh, I wish I’d brought that tenth pair of shoes along’. So there will be a lot of stripping back, minimising clutter, and prioritising what we keep and what we toss. The lighter we live, the happier we’ll be. And the more we can organise and stow away what we have, the better as well.

And finally, it’s about a mindset. About not just coming home and popping down in front of the tv, but turning on music and having a chat. Lighting some candles at dinner with the entire family (kids too!) instead of using the overhead lights. Having a bath instead of a shower. Creating a little bar for a mid-week drink at home. Making a gallery wall. Or a reading nook. Or a play area that takes inspiration from the kids club. Or splurging on that ridiculously beautiful piece of furniture that you will come home to curl up in for a few peaceful hours. We may not be able to switch off every night, but when we can, wouldn’t it be great to do so in a place we love as much as we love our holidays?

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